Unlock the Secrets to Building a Culture Talent Can't Resist

strategy Oct 10, 2023
By: Brooke M. Dukes

The Bedrock of Your Existence: Your People

Let's start with the obvious: your people are your company's backbone, its lifeblood, its secret sauce. They're also your brand ambassadors, your foot soldiers, and your most vocal critics. So, it's not just a good idea to understand how they view your company—it's essential. You might think you know your employees, but let's be honest, how many of them would tell you to your face that the coffee in the break room tastes like burnt rubber? That's where anonymous assessments come in. They're like the corporate version of a confessional booth, offering a safe space for employees to air their grievances, share their dreams, and spill the tea on what really motivates them. 

Now, you may be wondering, "Why anonymous?" Well, it's simple. People are more likely to be honest when they know their comments can't be traced back to them. It's the same reason online comment sections are both enlightening and horrifying. Once you've gathered this intel, you can start to build a culture that not only retains top talent but also makes them want to stick around long enough to become top talent. And let's face it, in today's job market, retention is the new recruitment.

The ABCs of Productivity: Key Behaviors

Every company has its own unwritten code of conduct. You know, those unspoken rules like not microwaving fish in the office kitchen or avoiding eye contact in the elevator. These behaviors have evolved over time and are generally accepted as contributing to a harmonious workplace. But when it comes to driving growth, you'll want to get a bit more specific. Your anonymous assessments will reveal which behaviors are universal across your organization and which are unique to certain departments. It's like corporate anthropology but less exciting. 

So, what do you do with this information? You could put it in a fancy report and never look at it again, or you could actually use it to improve your company. The choice is yours. Armed with this information, you can start encouraging the behaviors that make your company a productivity powerhouse and gently discouraging the ones that don't. Think of it as corporate Darwinism: survival of the fittest behaviors.

Values: More Than Just Words on a Wall

Company values are the North Star that guides your employees' actions. They're the unwritten rules that tell your team how to behave when no one is looking. But here's the kicker: if your employees don't know what those values are, they're about as useful as a screen door on a submarine. That's why it's crucial to not only identify the values that resonate with your team but also to make sure they align with the company's objectives. Turn these values into catchy phrases or "Cultural-ISM's" that even your most jaded employee can't help but remember. When everyone is on the same page, you'll find that attracting and retaining top talent becomes as easy as stealing candy from a baby (not that we're advocating for that).

And let's be real, in a world where company culture is often reduced to ping pong tables and free snacks, having strong, clearly defined values can set you apart from the competition.

Leadership: The Puppet Masters of Corporate Culture

Leadership is to corporate culture what yeast is to bread: without it, you're left with something flat and unappetizing. But leadership influence isn't a one-size-fits-all proposition. It's not about being the loudest voice in the room; it's about understanding how your leadership style impacts the team and then adjusting your approach accordingly. 

The goal is to guide your team without micromanaging, to inspire without intimidating. When leaders strike that balance, the whole organization thrives. And let's not forget, leadership isn't just about the people at the top. Middle managers often have more day-to-day interactions with employees, so their influence can be just as impactful. In short, good leadership is a team sport.

Mission: Not to be Confused with Vision

Ah, the mission statement: that often nebulous sentence that's supposed to encapsulate why your company exists. While a vision is a concrete goal (think: "We want to be a billion-dollar company by 2025"), a mission is more abstract. It's the "why" behind the "what." Take Google, for example. Its mission isn't to dominate the search engine market or to build a sprawling tech empire. It's "To organize the world's information and make it universally accessible and useful." Your mission should be equally compelling, something that makes your employees leap out of bed in the morning, eager to contribute to something greater than themselves. A well-articulated mission won't just help you retain employees; it'll turn them into evangelists for your brand. And in today's hyper-connected world, word-of-mouth is still the most effective form of advertising.

In Conclusion

Building a developmental culture isn't rocket science, but it does require a thoughtful approach to how you engage with your most valuable asset: your people. From anonymous assessments to clearly defined values and effective leadership, each element plays a crucial role in creating an environment where employees can thrive. So go ahead, take the plunge. Your future top talent will thank you. And who knows, you might even improve the coffee in the break room.

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